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Snow closes, delays schools

January 20, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

A storm passing through the mid-Atlantic area Thursday and Friday dropped about 21/2 inches of snow and may have contributed to a broken water main in Boonsboro that led to the closing of all three schools there, officials said.

A 1957 water pipe under the parking lot at Boonsboro High School burst Friday, Washington County Board of Education spokeswoman Carol Mowen said. While the cold weather was probably a factor, the exact cause of the problem is not known, she said.

Except for Boonsboro's elementary, middle and high school, county schools opened after a two-hour delay, according to the School Board. There was no morning kindergarten.

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Schools are closed Monday because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday but they are scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, Mowen said.

The county received 2.1 inches of snow Thursday, beginning around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, according to Hagers-town weather observer Greg Keefer's Web site at i4weather.net. The county received .4 inches of snow Friday, according to the site.

The Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia received at least 1 inch of snow, National Weather Service meteorologist Jim DeCarufel said.

Public schools were closed Friday in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties.

Hedgesville High School has rescheduled final exams that were canceled Friday because of weather. Fifth- and sixth-period exams will be conducted Tuesday morning, said Charlie Scott, assistant principal for curriculum.

National Weather Service meteorologist David Manning said the weather is expected to be dry through Thursday. The forecast for today is mostly sunny with highs in the mid-20s, and for Sunday slightly cloudy with highs in the upper 20s, he said.

Police in Washington County reported several minor accidents Thursday and Friday from slippery road conditions.

Maryland State Police put Washington County's snow emergency plan into effect at 8:30 p.m. Thursday because of hazardous driving conditions caused by snow- and ice-covered roads. The plan was lifted at 9:30 Friday morning.

Washington County Highway Department workers spread chemicals on roads and cleaned up the snow as it fell without any problems, director Ted Wolford said.

While there had been forecasts of winds as strong as 15 to 25 mph, the wind reached only 10 to 15 mph, Wolford said.

"We lucked out there," he said.

Crews plowed runways at Hagerstown Regional Airport late Thursday night until the last flight arrived and resumed early Friday morning, Airport Manager Carolyn Motz said. No flights were delayed.

A strange weather phenomenon similar to freezing fog lifted in time for the morning's first flight, Motz said. People could see when they looked up, but they couldn't see things at ground level, she said.

The fog lifted around 5:30 a.m.

There were no problems caused by snow later in the day, Motz said.

Allegheny Energy reported no problems caused by the snow.

Staff writers Tara Reilly. Julie Greene and Gregory T. Simmons contributed to this story.

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